Car park prices increase considered, to support services to Worcester residents

Parking space with newly painted lines

Worcester city councillors are to be asked to consider the first increase in car park charges in 14 years, in order to ensure services can continue to be delivered to residents.

Prices at the 14 car parks operated by Worcester City Council have not gone up since 2009, and the Environment Committee is to be asked to support new prices that will still be below the rates charged in privately-run car parks and similar-sized cities.

Income from car parks forms a major part of the funding that the City Council uses to deliver essential services like waste and recycling collections, street cleansing, and housing support and advice. A report to the committee's 24 January meeting notes that rising costs make it essential for charges to be raised in order to ensure the Council can set a balanced budget and continue to provide the critical frontline services that Worcester residents rely on.

The report notes that the running costs of the car parks have grown since 2009 and that the price of other goods and services in the UK has risen by 46% in that time.

Comparisons in the report also show that Worcester's current car park prices are demonstrably lower than those of cities of a similar size, including Cheltenham and Exeter.

Councillor Karen Lewing, Vice Chair of the Environment Committee, said: "The City Council is being affected by huge increases in the costs of maintaining our services and if we do not want to see cuts in services we need to look at ways of balancing our books. Car parking charges are a very significant source of income for the Council and they have not increased in 14 years, during which time we have seen big rises in bus and train fares.

"These small increases will also simplify the charging structure. We will ensure the City Council's car parks continue to be competitively priced and, where possible, still cheaper than private car parks within Worcester and those in comparable towns and cities."

The City Council's car parks have all received the prestigious national Park Mark award, in recognition of their high levels of cleanliness and security, with lighting and CCTV in place in all 14 car parks. The City Council is also increasing the availability of electric vehicle charging points in its car parks, with 12 in place in St Martin's Gate and more set to be installed in King Street and Tallow Hill.

The report proposes that the price of a two-hour stay at the Council's three red zone car parks (Copenhagen St, Cornmarket and Providence St) changes from £2.40 to £3.

At the six amber zone car parks (Cattlemarket, King St, Newport St, St Martin's Gate, Clare St and Commandery Rd) parking up to two hours would increase from £1.80 to £2. Parking for 24 hours at St Martin's Gate multi-storey car park would cost £4, compared to the current £3.60.

In the green zone car parks (Pitchcroft, The Moors, Tallow Hill, Tybridge St and Croft Rd), the two-hour parking fee would move from £1.20 to £1.50.

If the Environment Committee supports the proposals, the matter will be referred to the Income Management Sub-Committee and the Policy and Resources Committee, before being included in the 2023-24 budget recommendations to the full Council on 21 February. 

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